In a clear vote of confidence in their current leadership, voters in the town of Danville have cast their ballots in favor of continuity and have voted to re-elect council members Newell Arnerich and Renee Morgan, as well as vote in senior commissioner Dave Fong.
According to results released by the Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder's Office on Tuesday, 28,776 (88.12%) of Danville's 32,657 registered voters cast ballots in the town's nine-way race for three available at-large council seats and while results will not be confirmed until December the projected winners have expressed confidence in their leads.
"Directionally I had a good feeling already, I was already hopeful so I was getting prepared and it was just a matter of waiting," said Fong, the Town Council's projected newest addition. "It's still unofficial until results are certified in December, but I would say that I am looking forward to accepting this role and representing the community."
The unofficial results highlight Danville's historical overwhelming support for sitting council members, since the town's incorporation in 1982 no sitting council incumbent has ever lost a bid for re-election.
After grabbing on to early leads and never letting go, as of Tuesday Arnerich led the pack with 15,102 votes (21.86%), followed by Morgan who took 13,853 votes (20.05%) and then Fong who collected 11,215 votes (16.23%) -- seats on the Town Council are elected at-large meaning voters could cast their ballots for their top three choices.
The three leaders were followed by former town commissioner Turner Stanton who remains in third with 9,236 votes (13.37%), business consultant PJ Shelton who garnered 4,426 votes (6.41%), retired cop Kevin Traylor who took 4,422 votes (6.4%), businessman Allen Timmons who racked up 3,994 votes (5.78%), business owner Mohamed Elsherbini who received 3,605 votes (5.22%), and tech engineer Nasser Mirzai who trailed the pack with 3,241 votes (4.69%).
Cementing his legacy as a fixture of political and civic leadership in Danville after more than 30 years, Arnerich has achieved a historic seventh term on the Danville Town Council and has proven to be voters' top choice.
“Thank you for the confidence you have shown by re- electing me to another four-year term on the Danville Town Council. I am truly honored by the trust you have placed in me and I am very excited to continue work keeping Danville the safest and best run city in California,” Arnerich told DanvilleSanRamon.com.
First elected to the Town Council in 1995, Arnerich has served as mayor six times and prior to his ascension to the council served on the town's Design Review Board and Planning Commission.
"My first order of business is continuing support for our local businesses and at the same time protecting our small-town atmosphere. Maintaining fiscal responsibility with a balanced budget with high reserves is a challenge that will require diligence and restraint to get through the next 24 months during this pandemic driven economy," Arnerich said of his priorities for his new term.
Arnerich's current council college, Morgan also received a significant vote of approval from Danville voters who have decided to send her back to the council dais for a third-term.
"I am honored and humbled the residents of Danville re-elected me to the Danville Town Council," Morgan said. "Danville is truly a special place and my commitment to our community is unwavering."
First elected to the Town Council in 2012, Morgan possesses leadership experience at a variety of levels in Danville, including service on the Danville Planning Commission, Danville Historic Design Review and Danville Heritage Resource Commission. She has also served as the town's mayor.
While tackling the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic recovery are top issues, Morgan said her priorities for the town remain much of the same from over the past two elections and primarily revolve around fiscal responsibility, public safety and maintaining the town's atmosphere.
"I will continue to keep Danville the 'Safest City in the State', financially balanced and maintain our vibrant small town atmosphere," she said. "Now, more than ever, let us come together, resolved in our commitment to emerge from this pandemic better than ever and stronger than we have ever been."
Another candidate who campaigned on continuity, Fong long said that he was a supporter of the current town administration and would work to support and promote the work incumbent council members have been doing.
"I'm joining a team that has been successful and I'm sure not going to be walking in and disrupting as much as understanding what are the key ingredients or contributors toward success and really leveraging those assets," he said. "(At this point) it's like "ok can I start today or can I start yesterday" let's put our foot on the pedal and go for it."
During his campaign, Fong stressed issues that would continue Danville's path toward prosperity, chief among those being tackling the coronavirus pandemic, providing relief for businesses hampered by the recent economic downturn, maintaining a balanced budget and building upon "the strength of the partnership between the community and Danville Police."
"Danville is a very special town and has distinguished itself for being one of the most desired communities to live and raise a family; thanks to the involvement of our community, business, schools and the town government," Fong said. "Together, we can continue to build on the foundation of what is working well, especially with the many time sensitive challenges emerging from the pandemic."
A local civil servant known for his service on the Danville Senior Advisory Commission, Fong is also an accomplished senior executive business leader with more than 44 years of experience with corporations like Safeway and Longs Drug Stores.
Additionally, he has experience working on the state level as a government-appointed member of the California State Board of Pharmacy.
"I am humbled and honored to be elected to the Town Council. I want to express my gratitude to my family, friends, volunteers and the Danville community for their trust and confidence empowering me to represent them in this very important leadership position," he said.
Assuming the results are confirmed by county elections officials in December, Fong will be replacing vice mayor Lisa Blackwell who decided to not run for re-election in order to spend more time with her family and to travel.
Contra Costa County officials have stated that countywide voter turnout rests at 82.17% and estimate that there are approximately 10,000 ballots left to be processed -- an estimated 5,000 of which are estimated to be from vote-by-mail and polls, while the remaining 5,000 to be provisional and conditional voter ballots. However there is no available estimate on how many ballots are left to be counted in Danville specifically.
Residents should be advised that election figures will likely change in the coming days as final vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots and other qualifying ballots are processed, according to the California Secretary of State.